Expert teaches how to deal with feral hogs

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A wildlife expert spent the day teaching farmers and ranchers how to deal with the feral hog problem at the Wichita Falls Ranch and Farm show, on Thursday.

The hogs cause millions in damages every year all over Texas. There are 5.3 million feral hogs in the Texas which is 50 percent of the population.

Wayne Wood, 77, a Montague County rancher said he has tried everything to get rid of them from shooting to trapping hogs. "If you kill the sows there are more piglets with them, it's difficult to control," Wood said.

"We're open to any new ideas," Wood said.

Hundreds of Texoma farmers and ranchers said they felt the same which is why they said they attend the feral hog depredation conference.

Dr. John Tomecek, Texas A&M Ag Extension Service Wildlife Specialist, was the guest speaker.

"We go for a more integrated approach, trapping, shooting aerial gunning all the things that we could be doing to control to control pigs," Dr. Tomecek said.

He said the most cost-effective method is using ground base traps.

"The investment is pretty minimal and the number of pigs you can catch is pretty high," Dr. Tomecek said.

Other farmers like Wood said they are considering using helicopter hunting.

"I'm going to check into that and get some more of our neighbors may be on board for that too," Dr. Tomecek said.

He advised anyone who goes that route to not stop using other methods because pigs will learn the sound of a helicopter to avoid them.

"When you're doing this aerial control that you're focusing on getting pig numbers and not just shooting one or two pigs in the group and having a good time and running off to the next group," Dr. Tomecek said.

Dr. Tomecek said it could take another year before sodium nitride could be available for farmers and ranchers to use as another method. It is still in the trial phase.

A survey was taken at the feral hog conference with more than 100 people were asked if they are having problems with hogs and 75 percent raised their hands.

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